NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State volleyball signing class of 2017 grew by two Wednesday.
Coach Sean Kiracofe, entering his third season at the helm of the NSU program, announced the additions of Pantego (Texas) Christian Academy right side Darria Williams and League City (Texas) Clear Springs High School libero/defensive specialist Emily Ornelas.
Williams and Ornelas join fall signees Hannah Brister (Assumption HS/Napoleonville) and Charli Fouts (Canyon HS/New Braunfels, Texas) in the Lady Demons class.
Williams was a four-time all-district and all-state selection at Pantego in both volleyball and basketball. A 5-foot-11 right side, Williams helped lead Pantego to the state final four in volleyball as a senior. She also lettered in tennis.
As a sophomore, Williams became the first sophomore at Pantego to earn the “Female Athlete of the Year” award. Williams followed in the footsteps of her mother, Carla, a Hall of Fame athlete at Langston University.
“We are lucky to be able to add Darria to our roster,” Kiracofe said. “She is a well-rounded player but specifically has the ability to solidify us both offensively and defensively on the right side. She has the potential to compete for playing time immediately, but maybe just as important, she will raise the overall level of play in practice by making our outsides compete against her and allowing our defenders to work against a lefty on a regular basis. Darria is going to make us a better program in a number of different ways.”
Ornelas will bring similar qualities on a side of the ball where Northwestern State made strides in Kiracofe’s second season.
In her senior season at Clear Springs, Ornelas averaged 4.7 digs per set and was part of the Under Armour All-American Watch List. A team captain for the Chargers, she helped lead Clear Springs to the regional quarterfinals and a 36-win season as a junior. In her sophomore and junior seasons, Ornelas helped lead the Chargers to a combined 60-25 record and two playoff appearances.
A three-year letter winner, Ornelas was a two-time academic all-district selection.
“Emily is going to add depth to an already very improved defense from last season,” Kiracofe said. “Ball control and defense became our strength last season, but when you put all of that talent on one side of the court, scrimmages can get a little unbalanced. Just like with Darria — Emily with her speed and ball control — will improve the overall play during practice, which will translate to match time.”